(HealthDay News) – Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction (MI), according to a study published online Nov. 4 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Elsayed Z. Soliman, MD, from Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston Salem, NC, and colleagues examined the risk of incident MI associated with AF in a prospective cohort of 23,928 participants residing in the continental United States and without coronary heart disease at baseline, who were enrolled in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke cohort.

The researchers identified 648 incident MI events over 6.9 years of follow-up. AF correlated with a significantly increased risk of MI in a sociodemographic-adjusted model (hazard ratio [HR], 1.96). After further adjustment for potentially confounding variables, the significant association persisted (HR, 1.7). The risk of MI was significantly higher in women than in men (HR, 2.16 and 1.39, respectively; P for interaction = 0.03) and in blacks than in whites (HR, 2.53 and 1.26, respectively; P for interaction = 0.02). No significant differences were seen in the risk of MI associated with AF in older vs. younger patients (P for interaction = 0.44).

“These findings add to the growing concerns of the seriousness of AF as a public health burden: in addition to being a well-known risk factor for stroke, AF is also associated with increased risk of MI,” the authors write.

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